Kinesiology tape is stretchy and was designed to mimic the skin’s elasticity so you can use you full range of motion. Kinesiology taping creates a lift that unloads the underlying tissues. Decompressing those tissues can change the signals going to the brain and will respond differently. Trigger points are a good example. Therapists have used kinesiology tape to lift the skin over these tense, knotted muscles. When the area is decompressed, pain receptors send a new signal to the brain, and tension in the trigger point decreases.
A 2017 study showed that kinesiology taping can improve blood flow in the skin. It may also improve circulation of lymphatic fluids. Lymphatic fluid is mostly water, but it also contains proteins, bacteria, and other chemicals. The lymphatic system is the way your body regulates swelling and fluid buildup.
The theory is that when kinesiology tape is applied, it creates extra subcutaneous space, which changes the pressure gradient in the area underneath your skin. That change in pressure enhances the flow of lymphatic fluid.
Taping is also used to treat injuries to alleviate pain and swelling, as well as to support weak areas by adding extra support to muscles and joints that need it. Kinesiology tape lets you continue to move normally and possibly enhance movement and endurance. If you have lost function of muscles or your muscles have gotten used to an unhealthy way of working, kinesiology tape can help re-train muscles. Some athletes also use taping to help them achieve better performance and protect themselves against injuries when competing.